Friday favorite

only one favorite this week, because the one is just perfect. this literally just made my day, y’all. i have watched it like 8 times and kind of can’t get enough. messaging and execution, completely on point. i honestly don’t think this could have been cast, scripted, shot or edited any more perfectly. bravo, Lane Bryant and Laird + Partners!

have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday favorites: back in the saddle edition

cowgirl_on_white_horsei know it’s been a long time since i’ve shown my face around here. (thanks to everyone who’s hung around!) still a bit sorting through reasons why (maybe a post for later), but long story short, not writing these little posts is not helping me answer any of the questions i have been having about what i’m doing and why — here and in a couple other aspects of life. so i’m jumping back in. that’s the plan at least! and since i’m in, you know i gotta post my favorites from the week! this weekend, i’m looking forward to Spy returning home from a week in Germany. with everything going on in Europe right now, i just want him to get home safely! also, pool time, Secret Life of Pets (mandatory viewing!) and a wine tasting on Sunday afternoon. hope y’all have some fun/relaxing stuff planned, too! let’s go . . . Continue reading

Friday favorites: Hawaiian happiness

hawaii_5moments.001

just wow. what an amazing week it’s been! i can’t believe today is our last full day here. there is so much to tell. and i completely intended to do some in-depth posts while i was here, but guess what: i have been too busy actually enjoying my vacation to write about it! i still hope to do some longer posts (like the ones from France) when i get home, but wanted to post a few quick hits here and share some of my favorite moments from the week so far. enjoy and happy Friday, everyone!

1. Pearl Harbor
SONY DSC this spot was on the list of places i knew i wanted to see, but i really had no idea how moving it would be and how patriotic it would make me feel. the exhibits do a fantastic job setting up what was going on in the world leading up to the attack — a lot of which i seem to have tuned out in my high school history classes. well worth the few hours we spent soaking it all in.[/caption]

2. North Shore
hawaii_oahu_northshore
after our Pearl Harbor visit, we took advantage of a napping girl and headed north to Oahu’s famed North Shore. we parked and got out at Lanaikea Beach. Miss Girl’s pants immediately came off and she went crazy running along the rocks and in the surf. she seemed so completely at home, i couldn’t help but have some major flash forward moments to her as the quintessential badass surfer girl . . . and start wondering what if she went to school out here.

3. getting lei’d
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it took 3 full days in Hawaii, but i finally got lei’d! Miss Girl was not happy about any of it. in her defense, it did kind of itch. they were so beautiful, though!

4. rainbows
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yes! double rainbow! what does it mean??? no idea, but we have seen multiple rainbows every single day since we’ve been in Maui — a complete relief, considering that it was basically pouring down rain at the airport when we arrived on Wednesday. we were afraid we wouldn’t even see the sun, much less beautiful sights like this. luckily the weather in Ka’anapali doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what’s going on 45 minutes away in Kahului. once again . . . #westsideisthebestside

5. ahi poke
hawaii_ahi_poke
omg, y’all. i’m pretty sure i’ve had some version of this before, but this fish salad (pronounced po-kay) is like all i want to eat here. the ahi is amazing and every version is a little different. kind of like how in the south, everyone’s got a chicken salad recipe and no two are the same. the one pictured above is from Koa’s Seaside Grill in Lahaina on Maui. we stopped in to grab a bite (and a fruity cocktail) at an odd hour and were pleasantly surprised by a killer happy hour menu. i won’t even begin to guess what was in this, except some kind of seaweed and some chili peppers, but it was amazing. perfect with the homemade tortilla chips and rice crisps. definitely need to experiment with some recipes when i get home!

Friday favorites: Hawaii Five-OMG!

hawaiifive-0_3.003

thanks to the magic of scheduled posting, when this little slice of life hits the interwebs, i will be on a plane to Hawaii! it’s not a secret i’ve been keeping from you guys intentionally, it has just been an insane couple of months, during which i’ve quit one job, started another, lost a beloved doggie, launched my Wine Shop At Home business, bachelorette-fêted and married off a dear friend, met Biz Markie and started running again. whew!

not only is this a much needed vacation over Miss Girl’s spring break, it’s a really big deal: Spy is turning 50! back last autumn when we started talking about how to celebrate his half-century, my idea was to throw him a big Hawaii Five-0 themed luau. not one to enjoy being the center of attention, he countered “Let’s just go to Hawaii, instead.” i think my response was something like “Okay, Moneybags.” but the next thing i knew, it was booked. and he is beyond excited. and so am i. (that glass above was part of a pre-trip Christmas gift i gave us to keep the excitement going.) Continue reading

Friday Favorites: slacksplaining my absence

hate blog posts that begin with an apology for having been gone for so long, for not writing, for ignoring readers in favor of real life pursuits. so i’m not going to be that blogger. suffice to say there has been a lot going on in my world recently and now that the dust has settled a bit, i thought it would be fun to catch y’all up on 5 of my favorite things that have kept me so incredibly busy the past month or so. settle in. this one might be long. thanks for sticking around and happy Friday, everyone!

1. shopping
katespade_grand_street_colorblock_gabriel
y’all can have your shoes and jewelry. i’m a sucker for a handbag. and after i missed out on an amazing 75% off black Kate Spade tote at their holiday surprise sale because i was trying to be responsible and not splurge on myself (what was i thinking?), i vowed never to let an obsession of the moment get away again. i am utterly in love with this delicious creation. the Grand Street Colorblock Gabriel is the perfect size for normal pocketbook stuff like a wallet and make-up, plus roomy enough to tote around a small laptop and my notebook — making it the perfect size to stash everything needed for, say, a plane ride. originally $478, i snagged it for about $160 including tax after having the internal debate again for only about 3 hours this time. amazing bag. amazing deal. and no, you may not have one because, just like the bag i went gaga over at Christmas, this one is sold out!

2. sipping wine


so, that i have been sipping wine is clearly nothing new. but what’s different this time is that i got to do it a couple weekends ago with some of my best girlfriends during a fun-filled day of winery touring in Virginia to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of them. we hit Pippin Hill for lunch and bubbles, then a white and a red at Dave Matthews’ Blenheim. we followed up dinner in Charlottesville, accompanied by (probably too much) bourbon, with a good old-fashioned gab and grub session (over more cocktails, obvs) in our jammies in the living room of the adorable 1750s farmhouse (complete with cows, chickens, goats and maple syrup taps on the trees) that we had rented for the weekend. i cannot think of a more perfect address for a bachelorette weekend than Dick Woods Road. (i’ll just leave that right there.) so many laughs and so much love, beautiful views and delicious tastes . . . it was a fantastic weekend full of all my favorite stuff. can’t wait to go back up for the wedding next weekend!

3. sneaking around playing Tooth Fairy


OMG IT FINALLY HAPPENED!! after moping around for months because all her school friends were losing their teeth, Miss Girl finally had a little wiggle. then a big wiggle. then at 7:00 last Saturday morning (because you know it couldn’t happen at the crack of dawn on a school day when we’re up anyway), she raced into our room, jumped on the bed and announced that her tooth had finally come out. and she carried the evidence in her hand. well. i’d been thinking about it since that first wiggle and casually browsing Pinterest for cute ideas on how the Tooth Fairy would deliver her goods, but of course never actually downloaded any of the gazillion printables i’d looked at. bedtime Saturday night was go time for me and of course, at that point, i couldn’t find anything i thought was exactly right. so i whipped something up on Canva. and i think it turned out pretty cute, if i do say so myself! after my covert operation was done, Spy deftly slipped my handiwork under her pillow. the next morning, we were met with another exuberant early wake up. though, i think she was a little disappointed that her haul was only $1. but, as we like to say around our house: you git whatchya git and you don’t pitch a fit. 

4. snuggling by the fire
snuggling by the fire
this one’s a lame. i know. but y’all. do you know how many hours can be consumed just trying to get and stay warm? i am a summer girl, 1000%. and all this cold, dark weather lately has had me ready to curl up in pajamas and a blanket, binge eat and binge watch until things thaw out. so i’ve traded in my flip flops for fuzzy socks and have kind of done just that on a lot of recent nights and weekends, which is honestly just so unlike the usual me who is always busy doing something. my state of mind and my waistline can’t take much more of it. coooooome on, spring!

5. snagging a new job
I feel the start of something new!

(image: quotesgram.com)

today is my last day in my current job. for a variety of reasons it’s probably not appropriate to go into here, i just wasn’t that into it anymore. seriously nothing terrible, but it’s like when you’ve been dating someone for a year or so and it just doesn’t really seem like it’s going anywhere. there’s still things you love about them, but you find yourself fantasizing about being in a different situation. then some hot young thing winks at you from across the room and you know it’s over. that hot young thing approached me and we flirted for several weeks before deciding to make things official. i start my new gig on Monday and i’ve got all kinds of mixed emotions about making the move. but overall, i feel like the change will be a good one that will have a positive effect on some other areas of life. more on this later, probably, but for now i’m looking forward to a new week and a new chapter!

 

Friday favorites: French toast for blizzards

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as i sit writing from the comfort of my home in Atlanta, where it’s still in the mid-40s, i have a fire blazing inside and a cold, yet fully liquid, trickle of rain is gently pattering on my windowpanes and front porch. at this moment, i’ve got some mixed emotions about the big blizzard that has its bullseye on the mid-Atlantic, where most of my friends and family still live.

i dearly miss snow days full of day drinking, snowball fights, random inner-city sledding, random hook ups (let’s be honest) and pretty much tossing all responsibilities to the wind simply because Snow Miser had an extended moment that made all commerce come to a grinding halt. it was always, always a beautiful thing. but to go along with the raucous, debaucherous fun, there were also usually treacherous roads, power outages and the immeasurable boredom of being a little stuck for a few days. a good thing is only good for so long.

so as i’m seeing all the social media commentary about everyone preparing for this big storm, one question comes to mind: y’all makin’ French toast?

i honestly have no idea why milk, bread and eggs — okay and finally, this year, toilet paper — seem to be the top items everyone buys in preparation for a big snowstorm. y’all know you’re gonna lose your power, right? so your milk and eggs are over probably done for by Sunday. whatchya gonna do with all that bread now? i hope i’m wrong, but it has always just seemed to be the strangest thing. though, i guess you could just throw all your refrigerated stuff outside in your 18 inches of snow. oh, ugh . . .

me? i would buy bagels, butter (y’all know you can leave it at room temp for days, right?), that sealed smoked salmon you don’t have to refrigerate, a case of champagne and some green grapes or apples that could be happy on my kitchen counter. now that is some shit you can live off of for a few days. on that kind of diet, i can guess there would also be a lot less household, um, waste for that few days, hence no need for extra toilet paper. score!

anyhoo . . . for now, i will try to be helpful to all my friends in Richmond, DC and even North Carolina, who apparently have kitchens full of milk, bread and eggs (and bathrooms full of toilet paper) and throw out the best damn French toast recipes i could find on Pinterest today! y’all be safe up there! stay warm and don’t drive if you don’t have to — it’s not you, it’s the other fools on the road who think they know how to! oh, and bon appétit!

1. easy baked French toast casserole

Easy-Baked-French-Toast-Casserole-533x800okay. are you kidding me? had thought to do this in my oven, there might have been a lot more French toast in this house! love this easy recipe from Gather for Bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. easy cinnamon French toast sticks

overnight-cinnamon-french-toast-recipeshape can make all the difference. love this classic recipe from Just a Taste!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 3. bananas foster French toast

bananasp-768x1024it’s the end of the week. y’all know you have a couple leftover bananas starting to speckle and blacken and you’ve got to figure out something to do with them. thank Pinot to Pampers for this delicious idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. best ever hot chocolate French toast

Best-Ever-Hot-Chocolate-French-Toast-1in the category of 2 great tastes that taste great together . . . wow. you know you’re making hot chocolate anyway. because it’s a SNOW DAY! why not go ahead and mix it with that French toast. Half Baked Harvest will show you how.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. overnight blueberry French toast

Overnight-Blueberry-French-Toastget started on this one from Recipe Girl now, y’all. it looks like it’s totally worth it. if you’re like me you always have blueberries around (i bet strawberries would work, too) and if not, it’s probably a safe bet they didn’t fly off the shelves with the milk, bread and eggs. so go pick up a pint before the storm hits!

Friday favorites: best of 2015

happy 2016, y’all!! i’m tired. and not just because i stayed up too late on New Year’s Eve and drank too much! (i mean, maybe that’s about to happen. i’m writing this one early — for once — so i’ll have to let y’all know!) and not because i had a terrible year (i’m already seeing the Facebook posts about “good riddance to 2015!”).

no, we just had our normal post-holiday visit with our folks in the northern colonies . . . a 5-day jaunt to Richmond and DC to visit our parents and friends, which was fantastic, as always, but wow. just so much after the whole month or so of activities. with crazy weather, we arrived back in Atlanta around 10:00 Wednesday night. i had to show my face in the office for a bit on Thursday. and then finally, finally settled down to a little quiet with surf ‘n’ turf cooked (and being eaten on a rotating basis since we all are more in nosh mode than sit-down), 3 girls upstairs in the playroom watching the Seacrest New Year’s Eve show (better than 3 girls screaming in my kitchen! — i just made them promise to let me know when One Direction comes on!), the husband watching football in the livingroom and me in the office drinking wine, reflecting on the past and wondering about the future.

whoooooooshyogapantsfeelgoodrightnow . . .

so i know i haven’t posted in a long time. there has been a lot going on here. nothing totally bad. and nothing totally good. but enough life stuff to have kept me focused on other things and not writing regularly. i’m working on what fixing that looks like, as well as broader new year’s resolutions and such. in the meantime, before i can look forward, i wanted to spend this post looking back at some of my favorite moments of 2015 (in no particular order of course!). it really was a good year, as years go. hope y’all feel the same! and if not, as they are saying in Facebook memes, today is the first blank page of a 365-page book — write a good one!

France
colmar.001
i mean. there could not have been a more amazing vacation and week of togetherness for me and my family than our Spring Break in France. can’t wait for Hawaii 5-0 (neither can you! stay tuned . . .).

glamping!
yurtfamily_funnyfaces (1)
seriously, yurts-so-good was maybe the funnest weekend of the year. despite getting in uber trouble for joining the wiccans in their full moon ceremony (sheesh), this was an epic weekend with amazing friends who i hope we’ll keep forever. so. much. love.

Lily
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there have been a lot of ups and downs since she arrived on our scene last January. for example, ups: she is an amazing snuggler. downs: she eats everything . . . shoes, rugs, the house (literally) . . . somehow, the ups make up for the downs and just less than a year later, i cannot imagine life without her.

Parker
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no. my cat dying was not one of my favorite moments. i still miss him terribly. that last morning with him, when i knew it was not going to end well, we had a good snuggle and a good conversation. and in that last few hours, i know we solidified everything we’d meant to each other in the past 15 years. big, good stuff.

DC
hoya
Spy and i never actually lived in this amazing city at the same time. maybe crossed paths at The Tombs, we’ve decided, but that’s it. post-Christmas visit confirmed our love for all the in-town awesome. we really don’t get back there enough and visits always make me miss it. just maybe Miss Girl will go to Georgetown like her dad and we’ll just have to be up there like all the time . . .

Friday favorites: OMG it’s Christmas!

IMG_8649(photo: Bright Young Things)

. . . okay, well almost Christmas. my decorations are all up (finally!). the last big batch of cards goes out today. and we are on a plane to NYC in a couple of hours for a fun-filled weekend full of Christmas lights, Rockettes, ice skating and holiday cheer with some BFFs. my brilliant husband worked out this trip in like August pretty much for free. yeah, it’s good to have points and miles. Miss Girl was adorably excited to pack her own suitcase last night and i think actually did a pretty good job! now what on earth am i going to wear?? at any rate, here are a few fun finds from the week. enjoy and have a great weekend, everyone!

1. holiday stock from Chelsea at Bright Young Things

what a smart girl. just when i was looking to do a holiday theme on my Facebook page, there she was, offering some a free download of some really gorgeous photos that are perfect for social media headers, blog backgrounds, etc. (psssst! that’s one above, too!) she also does some great design work, so check out her services and blog if you are looking for beautiful. thanks again, Chelsea!

2. Santaland Diaries
santaland

bring the David Sedaris all day. for my birthday earlier this week, Spy took me to the Horizon Theater  to see this hilarious, crowd engaging rendition of a holiday tale about selling your soul. definitely go see it if you are in Atlanta!

3. Fast-Forward Girls 2015
another great #girlpower video from Goldiblox.

4. you’re beautiful.
i know. everyone’s been talking about these reactions to being called beautiful all week already, but here it is again. everybody can use 5 more minutes of this in their life.

5. your feet can be beautiful!
ampope
like i am hard on manicures, i’m also pretty hard on pedicures. i would like to blame running, but that would be an absolute joke. anyway, i was thrilled to be introduced to the Amopé “electronic foot file” that buffs up your feet without any sharp blades. this thing is seriously amazing. buh-by calluses. check it out.

Friday favorites: pre-Thanksgiving finds & fun

isn’t the week before a holiday week just the worst?? feels like this one has gone on forever! a work trip to New York sandwiched right in the middle of it at least mixed things up, but let’s be honest — 2 solid days in a conference room doing 2016 planning kinda sucked all the fun out of it. i pretty much officially checked out last night when Spy and i stayed up way too late drinking way too much wine and talking politics. i’ll have y’all know that i actually impressed my husband, who reads 2 newspapers cover to cover every day, with a comment and a perspective he had not heard or thought of on how President Obama is handling ISIS and the media. i was seriously so proud of myself! anyhoo . . . glad it is now officially the weekend! we have a ton of stuff to do to get ready for Thanksgiving guests arriving Tuesday. i am so excited i can’t stand it. here’s a quick look back at some of the awesomeness of the week. (i was terrible about taking photos of anything, so enjoy these much better ones!) hope y’all had a good one and have some big fun planned for the weekend ahead!

cauliflower rice
01-Couscous-4
you guys. are you ready to be totally amazed? i’m doing a quick 10-day paleo thing so i don’t feel like an absolute cow on Thanksgiving . . . which rolls into holiday parties, my birthday, Christmas and basically a 6-week food and booze fest. it’s the least i can do, right? so i have wanted to try this cauliflower rice for a while, but did not have high hopes. it is the bomb. i used this recipe from The Kitchn (also photo source). it is so easy, makes a ton and was amazing first with salmon and then under fajita steak and chicken (for like 3 meals). you will never actually confuse it for rice, but when you are off carbs and need that texture, or a bed of something to put your stir fry or curry or whatever on, it is absolutely perfect. try it and let me know what you think!

a new dress


a NYC work trip definitely required a new outfit. duh. lucky for me i hit probably the last week of nice (aka not freezing) weather, so it didn’t have to be a pants situation. this Ann Taylor dress looks super prim here, but with the collar open to show this awesome Chloe & Isabel convertible necklace, sleeves rolled up and tall black boots, it was the perfect balance of feminine (did i mention i was in a room with 20 dudes and only 2 other women for those 2 days??) and buttoned up. and at 40% off when i picked it up last week, it was a total win. great staple piece.

at-home manicure


and a NYC work trip definitely required a manicure. i got cheap and lazy and decided to do an entire mani/pedi myself, which i haven’t done in quite a while. i always feel great after i’ve done it. and this time, i was especially psyched because i tried something i’d been wanting to do for a while. when i do take the time to do gels, i use the 3-step L’Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Laque. it gives a really great gel look. i can’t say anything about how long it lasts because i’m ridiculously hard on any manicure. i’m sitting here typing with a few chips after 5 days on this one as an example. they have some really good colors, but i also have a drawer full of nail polish. i’d read you could sub in anything for step 2, so i tried my OPI Scores a Goal. it dried so gorgeous and smooth it honestly looked like i’d gotten it done by a professional. i loved looking at my nails so much all week that i might actually do it again this weekend!

family photos


finally got our images from the shoot we did back in October. these are just a couple of them. Sarah Esther Photography is seriously just absolutely the best! if you’re in Atlanta, i highly recommend her for family, engagement, wedding, baby photos or headshots or boudoir (hubba hubba!). now i get to work on the Christmas card this weekend!

Made in the A.M.
oh,  you know you’ve been enjoying this all week, too!

5 on Friday: reasons to hate juicing

juicehater.001(photo: Yoga Journal)

so everyone who’s done a juice cleanse, raise your hands. now keep ’em up if you loved it and would do it like all the time. all 6 of y’all are crazy.

i started out the week on a bit of a health kick. seemed like a simple little 3 day juice cleanse would be just the thing to kill some bloat and jump start some healthier habits that would hopefully carry me through the holidays, starting with the candy-and-booze-fest that is Halloween. so last weekend i hauled my ass over to the Whole Foods and picked up all the supplies (19 bottles!) to do the Arden’s Garden Love Your Liver Cleanse.

i’ve done various juice cleanses several times over the past several years — Master Cleanse once and a couple of the dtox juice ones several times. but it’s been a while. obviously long enough to make me forget why every time i do one i say never again. and it’s not the reasons you’d think. i always think the juices taste great — even the weird green ones. and i never really get hungry, so it’s not about that. but here are the 5 reasons i hate juicing:

1. sugar 
there is sooooooo much sugar in juice. yes, even the green ones always have some apple or something in them. to be perfectly honest, it makes me feel like shit. i generally eat a fairly low-carb, low-sugar diet (especially since they took away the candy bowls at work). starting your day with 24 grams of sugar is like . . . according to the Googles . . . downing 2 tablespoons of sugar at breakfast. i know fructose or whatever is in fruit is different from white refined cane sugar, but still. that just seems really gross. and that’s more or less all you’re putting in your system all day long for (in this case) 6 bottles worth. this go around, i never finished more than 4 of the juices + lemon water. i was just too sweeted out. and instead of flushing out toxins, i honestly think it bloats me.

2. protein
yeah, protein is my boo. as hinted above, my diet (on a good day) contains a lot of protein and good good fats. these cleanses contain neither. long story short, even for 3 days, this makes me feel like complete crap.

3. fiber (and crunch!)
mmm-hmm. another thing there is virtually none of in a juice cleanse. um. not to get too graphic, but how are we supposed to be eliminating all these toxins if there is no, uh, elimination? ingesting no fiber for 3 days is also a really weird thing for me and my, um, system. i also miss the crunch of fruits and vegetables. okay, fine. and gluten-free crackers. bottom line: chewing and pooing are basic everyday experiences that just make life better.

4. wine
speaking of making life better, is wine not a juice??? this has been confusing to me every single time i’ve done this. am i alone?

5. boredom
and in the end, even for 3 days, no salt, no texture, no socializing normally is just not for me. even if it is helping my physical well-being (doubt — did i actually gain weight this time??), the mental portion does not click. i think i did get that Zen feeling after like a week on Master Cleanse. or maybe i just submitted to the utter boredom at that point and what i was experiencing was sheer and utter ennui.

lesson finally learned, i think. i will stick to my solid-food version of healthy eating (lean protein, veggies, no dairy, no starches, no booze) next time i’m feeling like i need to pull it back together for a few days. would love to hear your experiences with juicing! i plan to read responses over a non-WHO-approved bacon-wrapped filet and a bottle of Zin . . . happy weekend, y’all!